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Students craft Capstones

Cristina Shaffer

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This week, after over two years of work, Bellarmine seniors will present their final Capstone findings this Wednesday, Jan. 11.

The Capstone program, directed by Ron Nilsen and Barbara Henderson, is a research project program that allows dedicated students to pursue a deeper study on a particular subject matter. The program, which climaxes in a final presentation during the winter of senior year, allows students to “explore deeply in to an academic area of interest.’

Nilsen says that he is “really excited to see the presentations, not only because they have worked so hard and are very passionate about their topics, but because the group is very diverse in what they have covered. The presentations range from the fine arts and music composition to environmental and ocean pollution and literature, as well as horseback riding helping disabled children. From a barn to the beach to Bach, each presentation has its own unique setting, which is what makes the program so special. That’s the beauty of Capstone.”

Students spend their sophomore year deciding on a topic of their project and narrowing it down into a “core question.” They continue research through their junior year and meeting with their mentor, and finally competing their project through thorough research. This year six motivated seniors have completed the Capstone program, over a variety of topics.

Eric Van Winkle will present on Theoretical Analysis of a Romantic Era Piano Composition.

Nathan McCune will share his findings on the Development of Public Education around micro plastics research at Tacoma’s Owen Beach.

Also on the subject of marine life, Catherine Parra will present on the History of Sea Star diseases and their presence at Titlow Beach.

Kathy Nguyen will present on various strategies to Address Dental Decay in youth.

Rachel Kadoshima will present her research on how American Culture Influences Dystopian Literature.

And last but not least, horseback rider Emily Betts will present on the Effects of Equine (horse) therapy on Children with Down Syndrome.

Unlike the Marine Chemistry program, there is no application or admission to participate in the Capstone program, although it does require large amounts of independent research. Each member of the program selects a mentor for his or her project that provides guidance, insights, and direction for the projects.

Past Capstone assignments have included paintings, such as the octopus mural on the outside of the bottom floor of the Snyder building. Others have done research involving politics, cancer, military, childhood development and many more. Students who participate in the program can choose to research any topic that interests them.

At the end of their senior year participants will receive special acknowledgement for their dedication and hard work and will also receive a graduation sash.

Any person interested in the program should reach out to Nilsen or Henderson and come watch the seniors’ presentations on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Campus Center.

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Students craft Capstones